Car maintenance is crucial to help keep it in good condition and avoid spending a fortune on repairs. One of the things you can do to prolong your vehicle's life span is to apply car wax. It provides a protective layer that prevents it from rusting and the paint from chipping off.
However, the application of car wax is not a one-off thing. You have to make it a routine to apply a fresh coat once or twice a year. Car wax is made to last between three and six months, but this is not always the case.
So, how long does car wax last? It generally depends on several factors. Read along for more insights.
1. Type of Wax
Car wax has evolved since it hit the market in the early 1800s. Initially, it was derived from animal fats, but today it's chemically enhanced and scientifically blended to make it what it is. It comprises natural waxes, chemicals, and petroleum agents.
Wax comes in many types, some unknown to car owners, professional detailers, and enthusiasts. The composition of car wax determines how long it lasts after its application.
Most consumers are familiar with natural wax derived from carnauba leaves. It’s processed and mixed with additional wax like beeswax. When applied to the car's surface, it creates a clear coat which hardens to form a razor-thin shell.
It’s resistant to heat and protects the car’s surface from weather elements like sunlight and other contaminants. However, it wears off with a short span of less than six weeks.
Synthetix wax, or paint sealant, is made from chemically-made polymers that bond with paint for added protection. Most car detailers prefer this type of wax as it tends to last longer and is easier to apply.
However, note that synthetic wax doesn’t provide the deep shine provided by carnauba wax. This can be sorted by applying a coat of natural wax to obtain a wetter and deeper look.
2. The Preparation Process
Before applying car wax, it's essential to follow the right preparation procedure on the car's surface. The existing coat layer has to be removed before another coat can be applied. Always ensure you use a high-quality wax removal product, which will leave the surface without scratches.
The surface then has to be cleaned to get rid of all loose dirt and particles. Contaminants can tamper with the overall quality of the wax application, causing it to peel over a short period.
3. The Application Process
How the wax is applied makes all the difference and affects how long it lasts. Unfortunately, many people use a thick layer of wax, thinking that this will make it look nice and last long. They don't know that a thin coat applied in multiple layers has a much better effect.
The application of wax by hand is also another common mistake. By using the hand, it’s very easy to use uneven pressure on different parts of the car. Furthermore, the circular motion usually used in the application process tends to leave a visible pattern.
It would help if you had a qualified detailer apply the wax to avoid wastage and ensure it lasts long. Since detailers are good at what they do, they use the right tools like random motion orbiters to achieve the most reliable results. The friction and heat produced remove contaminants and reduce the risk of scratches and peeling.
4. Environmental Factors
Exposing your car to weather elements tampers with the quality of wax and causes it to peel off. It's sad that most people never think about this and leave their cars parked in the sun the whole day. Storing your vehicle under a shade or in the garage will allow it to go longer between waxes.
The conditions of the roads where you drive your vehicle also matter. If you drive along a dirt road or on gravel, your car collects a lot of dirt. This compromises the shine of the wax, requiring you to recoat more often.
Other environmental factors that matter are salt, ice melt, and pollution. Do you park your vehicle in an industrial area where chemicals are emitted into the atmosphere? All these could tamper with the wax and call for reapplication within a short time.
5. How Often You Wash the Car
Yes, you read that right. While washing your car regularly will protect the surface by removing dirt and debris, it’s not all bliss. On the downside, washing it too often tends to weaken the protective wax layer.
If you want to wash your car frequently, consider having it waxed often, too. You may not have a specific timeframe to wash your car, but the wax reapplication schedule should be frequent.
6. How to Make Car Wax Last Longer
The best way to make your car wax last longer is to avoid what makes it peel off faster. More importantly, ensure you only use the best quality wax on your car. Look for products that contain materials that protect your car’s paint from UV rays.
It’s also crucial to ensure that the right application process is followed. For example, the coat should be applied under shade or in cool conditions. Wax applied in hot condition dries too quickly and doesn't correctly infuse with the paint.
It also should be applied slowly and in thin coats. Leave each layer to dry before applying another one. Buffing is also crucial for each coat applied, using only the recommended buffing materials.
The application of car wax is one of the procedures that help in prolonging its life. The frequency of application depends on how long the wax lasts after it has been applied. Several factors affect the lifespan on this protective coat, including its quality, application method, and exposure to elements.
Ensure you use high-quality car wax with each application. Natural carnauba wax is a better option, although it comes at a high cost and is difficult to apply. Ensure you also don't leave your vehicle in places where it's exposed to direct sun rays and or other weather elements.